Sunday, 3 April 2016

Company of Dice Bolt Action Tournament a success

Game 1, Turn 1 and the "Fear Tank" FT17 died
Yesterday was the Company of Dice Bolt Action tournament and 20 players fought a very enjoyable 3 games with their 750 point armies.
Every board looked great and presented its own challenges and all armies were painted well. This combination of great boards, armies and enthusiastic players meant many enjoyable games. While my son, Peter, played his first tournament, I was assisting with rule and situation queries which is an important role. This provided me with the opportunity to see all the games and take a selection of photos across them all.
Many of the players were playing their first tournament and many were also graduates of our Bolt Action Boot Camps.
US Paras ready to storm into a building
Stuart being circled by marauding Germans
We were told by a few players, "This is all your fault," and before I could respond they smiled and said, "Thanks."
I was chatting to the tournament organiser about why Bolt Action attracted such a wide variety of players and they all displayed such strong sportsmanship. I believe it is due to the nature of the game, especially the order dice mechanic. Also, the rules are generalised and easy to remember with only a few specialist rules that apply to relatively rare situations. This means that those that like to squeeze rules to get minute advantages are stymied by the "Bolt Action" cinematic results. I have a few examples to show in this post but in general, a player's plans cannot survive contact with the enemy. All plans have to be contingent whilst many trick plays rely on a combination of events happening. The more convoluted a plan, the less likely the dice imps (those creatures that seem to control when a six or a one appears) will co-operate.
Marines assaulting entrenched Japanese
Unsupported tank taught a fatal lesson by the Japanese
At the same time, the player who is flexible and works to combine the odds in his favour through supporting his units, combinations of unit type, ranges and firepower and is quick to overcome adversity will succeed. I always think the best wargamer is one that can accept the vagaries of results and push on with his second, third or umpteenth backup plan as well as take advantage of the surprise success or opponents failure promptly.
British defending ruined house

Bolt Action Cinematic Moments 

Inexperienced French charge into enclosure to capture mysterious blue box
Peter had his little FT17 tank which he planned to use as a mobile, yet slow, pillbox but it was destroyed in the first turn during game one.  This meant a new plan that did not rely on that support.
The 3rd photo in this post shows a US Stuart tank being surrounded by three light German vehicles. At this point he had 4 pins, but a little later when he had 5 pins he pulled off a Bolt Action moment. The US player rolled a 4 to pass the order test. He then rolled a six and six to hit the Panzer II that had been annoying him for a number of turns, then a 5 to penetrate and a 6 to kill. Both US and German player were surprised by the result and the game went on, both smiling that the surrounded Stuart had hit out at his annoying attackers.

Regular French step in to avenge dead comrades. 
I have shown two photos of tanks that were successfully attacked by infantry. The Russian tank was caught within range of the Japanese tank fighters at the start of the turn. The Japanese rushed out of the nearby building before the tank had moved and succeeded in destroying the tank and moved on.
The Panzer III below was destroyed by a small team of tough fighter British commandoes. As the tank had Advanced, they needed 6s to hit the tank. They achieved 3 hits on the toughened rear, so needed a 5 to get superficial and a 6 to get a full hit. A 6 followed by a 5 killed the Panzer III.

British Commandoes teaching a lesson to unsupported Panzer
The French assault on the courtyard of the beautiful Desert compound containing the mysterious blue box was a tug of war with many bodies piling up in the sand. First a squad of 11 relieving French Inexperienced soldiers rushed into the courtyard. Heavily armed German veterans charged in from the other side and killed all of them. Then a defending French Regular squad charged out of the house and fired on the veterans, killing about half. It was a vicious battle for control of the objective.
Amazing last turn excitement

I leave the best Bolt Action moment for last.
The objective for this board was on the destroyed glider in the centre of the board. The US player had told me how he was sure he had lost this game in about turn 3 so was just going to rush the middle objective and hold his ground. Under the wing was a sniper team and 4 inches away (so could not control the objective) was a medic team. The Germans were all around. The US player called down an air strike on the largest German squad, killing it and inflicting pins on every enemy and friendly unit in range.
The last turn was a rapid series of order dice pulls and every German unit quickly advanced and fired upon the sniper. Every unit hit, but after 8 hits only the last shot achieved a kill on the sniper. The very last dice roll in all of the game was for the medic to see if he could save the sniper. A 6 was rolled to the cries of amazement and laughter from players and spectators alike.
Both players laughed loudly and shook hands. It was a draw, but the type of draw where both players considered themselves equal winners.

Thanks to Bryan for organising the tournament and Joe and Spyros and Byron for their organising the club and the sponsors for the great prize support.


  1. Replies
    1. The club plans a BA tournament day once every 3 months. When the next one is planned, I'll publish the details.



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